The Manchester Parish Council in partnership with the Caribbean Local and Economic Development Project (CARILED) conducted a Business Improvement District (BID/BIA) sensitization meeting on Monday, January 11, 2016 at Neil's Auditorium, 22A Ward Avenue, Mandeville. The meeting was attended by MSME business operators along the Ward Avenue corridor and forms part of the LED strategy implementation.
From left to right - Ms. Angella Edwards, Local Economic Development Officer (LEDO),
Mr. David Harris - Acting Secretary/Manager, Manchester Parish Council, Mr. Jones Oliphant - Councillor
for the Mandeville Division, Mr. Clive Edwards, Ministry of Local Government and Community Development,
Local Government Reform Unit, Ms.Stephannie Hutchinson - National Country Coordinator (NCC) CARILED
and Mr.Olaf Fontenelle - Regional Program Manager (BIA and EODB) CARILED
Some members of the business community along Ward Avenue
What is a BIA/BID
The Canadian Business Improvement Area Handbook contains the following definitions for BIDs and BIAs.
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographical area which the local businesses have voted to invest in collectively to improve their environment. BIDs provide additional or improved services as identified and requested by local businesses.
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a geographical area in a municipality (parish). A BIA board of managemenet is an organization set up to provide certain business promotion and improvement functions within that area.
A BIA allows local business people and property owners to join together and with the support of the municipality (Parish Council), to organize, finance and carry out physical improvement and promote economic development in their district. The local municipality is the body that is responsible for approving the budget of the BIA. Business Improvement Areas offer a self-help approach to revitalizing business districts.
BIAs are self funded through levy based on property assessment and managed by volunteer Board elected from all and by all commercial property owners and businesses, and appointed by Local Authority.
Benefits of a BIA
- Provides an organizational structure that allows for long-range planning and programme development;
- An economic development model that fosters community unity and a focus on communities best interests;
- More autonomy in decision making;
- Funds collected for BIA stay in the community;
- High degree of accountability through local authority oversight; and
- Better planning is facilitated as there is an annual funding amount which is predictable and stable.
What BIAs can do
BIAs are limited to activities that benefit the broader good and are in addition to services provided through general taxes. Some of these are:
- Streetscape beautification;
- Area maintenance;
- Advertising, marketing and promoting the area as a place to shop, dine, work and invest;
- Advocating on behalf of the interests of the local business community; and
- Safety and security initiatives.
What BIAs can't do
- Fund improvements to the benefit of individual properties or businesses;
- Borrow or lend money, with exception of borrowing from the local authority;
- Incur indebtedness beyond the current fiscal year;
- Support political candidates or parties; and
- Take a position contrary to the local authority.
Is Manchester/Mandeville Ready for a BIA?
The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has requested assistance from the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED) to implement Business Improvement Areas in some parishes across the island. The parish of Manchester is a beneficiary under the CARILED project and as such has been identified as one of the parishes which seems most likely to successfully implement a BIA.
A workshop and assessment was held in Februay 2015 and arising from the ensuing discussion, Ward Avenue was identified as the area with the most potential for the successful implementation of a BIA.
The Manchester Parish Council, with the assistance of CARILED has now started the process to transform Ward Avenue and establish the first BIA in the parish. Since completing the workshop in February, there has been much discussion on the subject and we are now seeking to answer the question as to whether or not the parish, specifically Ward Avenue, is ready for the establishment of a BIA.
Business operators along the Ward Avenue corridor voted to implement the BIA. A Steering Committee, to be guided by Ms. Angella Edwards - Local and Economic Development Officer, Manchester, has since been formed to put plans in place for the implementation of the BIA. The first meeting of the Steering Committee will be held on Monday, February 1, 2016 commencing at 6:00 p.m. at Neil's Auditorium, 22A Wad Avenue, Mandeville.
The Caribbean Local Ecomomic Development Project (CARILED) is undertaken through financing from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. Global Affairs Canada was prviously called DFATD/CIDA.
CARILED is implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in partnership with the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA), the Caribbean Forum of Local Government Ministers (CFLGM) and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF). The programme is being funded to the tune of CAN $23 million over a six year period.
The goal of CARILED is to increase sustainable economic growth benefitting men, women and youths in the Caribbean through strengthening micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs),the stimulation of Local Economic Development (LED), and the promotion of effective competencies and governance capabilities at the local level.